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A Divisive Jesus - By Don McGee - http://www.raptureready.com/soap2/mcgee29.html
There is a global religious effort going on today that is of great importance because it is presenting an unscriptural view of Jesus. It can be found in most all mainline denominations, and it is very dangerous especially to those people who base their belief system solely upon what their religious leaders tell them.
Many of those religious leaders are saying that Jesus is the great unifier to the exclusion of all else that Scripture says about Him. In this teaching just about any person, religious or otherwise, can find a place of acceptance under His great umbrella of unity. The proponents of this unity effort willfully misapply John 17. This is Jesus' prayer for unity among believers, not among religions.
What makes this interesting to prophecy teachers and others interested in end times events is that this teaching is forming the foundation for the harlot church of Revelation 17. By that I mean that the world is religiously in the run-up to what is going to happen once Jesus removes His Church from the earth.
Some people might have wondered if this would ever happen literally, but they should wonder no more. What we are seeing in the modern apostate church is unmistakably the foundation of that future harlot church.
The world admits to the fact that Jesus of Nazareth lived on this earth 2000 years ago. The problem is that the world does not believe what He said about Himself, and they do not believe what the scripture's writers say about Him. And that is why people must be careful about what their religious leaders are saying. They could be dead-on correct historically, but downright heretical scripturally.
This should not surprise any of us, for Jesus Himself said He would be divisive, and that is the first thing we need to think about. In Matthew 10:34ff He said to his apostles that He did not come to bring peace on the earth, but to bring a sword. In fact, Jesus emphasized this truth by quoting the words of the prophet Micah saying that He and His message would ultimately divide families to the point that some family members would become enemies.
This flies in the face of what so many superstar pastors and evangelists are saying to their congregations. They plead for unity and for cooperation and for tolerance and for love among the denominations. Not only that, but they want the church to accept as fellow believers those whose beliefs and lifestyles demonstrate a total disregard for what God has said about faith in Christ Jesus, righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come (Acts 24:24,25).
Matthew 10:34 is also entirely at odds with what many of those same pastors and evangelists are saying about extending unity to those among the pagan religions. Many high-profile religious leaders, including but not limited to the pope, are saying we are all children of God and that we must come together in sincerity and unity to make the world a better place. The Vatican has been saying for years that "separated brethren" should come "home" to the Catholic Church.
Folks, Jesus did not come to unite religions and make the world a better place. This world is a putrefying mass of rebellion, and this plea for religious unity is part of that problem. At His 1st Coming Jesus died for the sins of the world. At His Second Coming He will make the world a better place. Until then, apostate Christianity will continue to grow.
So, is Jesus divisive? Yes, He is. It is not the on-going global unity effort that is divisive, for that effort is inclusive of everything from New Age to eastern mysticism to even monotheistic religions like Judaism, Islam and what is essentially apostate Christianity.
Religious unity will largely be achieved during the tribulation, but it will not be centered on Jesus Christ. It will be centered on Antichrist (Revelation 13). In fact, those who refuse to worship Antichrist and to take his mark during those dark days will die for their refusal (Revelation 7).
The world is very much ready for this harlot church. You see, people want a feel-good unity that has nothing to do with the biblical Jesus. They want one based upon human inspiration, collaboration and some kind of a warped concept of justice. If somebody were given TV access to all the world, and he tried to unify the religious world around the biblical truth of Jesus Christ; he would be driven from the world stage and labeled a dangerous extremist and divider of people.
Take a close look at those who are pushing for global religious unity. The world's tributes to them do not seem to cease. Pope Francis is called a man of peace and unity because he wants to unite the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Church of England, protestant Christianity and even Islam and atheists; all under the Roman Catholic Church, of course.
Particularly interesting was his answer about the possibility of atheists being saved. Under the headline, "Pope Francis Offers Hope to Faithless, Says Atheists Can Go to Heaven," The Oregonian of December 26, 2015 quoted him as saying, "You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don't believe and who don't seek the faith...the issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience."
Obey their conscience?
The Bible does not say that. It says that trust in and obedience to Jesus Christ is the sole means of salvation (Acts 4:12). The hope offered by the pope, along with the unity he so desires, is not based upon Jesus Christ and His claims, but it is a false hope based upon the gods of toleration, acceptance and unity. You see how the truth about Jesus divides people...
Some protestant leaders, even some who are labeled as evangelicals, have also embraced the modern call for the acceptance into the Christian community of those who reject the Bible as truth. Tony Campolo and Brian McLaren are just two examples of those who have made a decision to redefine biblical teaching in order to make the Bible, Jesus and God the Father more palatable to those steeped in rebellion. This shows clearly that the claims and demands of Jesus divide people into those who accept Him and His teaching, and those who do not. It is as simple as that.
It is true that Christians must never be motivated by hate in their dealing with unbelievers. But that does not mean that the truth must be compromised by accommodating their pagan belief system, or their immoral lifestyles. Yet some religious leaders demand their followers do just that in order to show love toward unbelievers. That is not only absurd, but it removes any opportunity to evangelize unbelievers.
To think that biblical teaching about sin, salvation, and the Person and work of Jesus Christ should be muted in public or private dealings with atheists, Muslims, homosexuals, murderers, etc. is in direct conflict with 2 Timothy 4:1,2 along with other Scriptures having to do with evangelization.
But, more to the point is the fact that it is quite often not Christians who treat unbelievers in a caustic way, but unbelievers and so-called "progressive" Christian leaders who treat fundamental Christians in this way. In fact, many of biblical Christianity's loudest opponents are those so-called "progressive" Christian leaders.
Consider Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist of Dallas. He is a highly respected spokesman among evangelical Christians, and he does not practice political correctness. Dr. Robert Hunt, a Southern Methodist University religion professor who is also the school's Director of Global Theological Education, charges Jeffress with hate speech because he takes a biblical stand on issues dealing with Islam, immorality, etc.
However, at the same time Hunt gives praise to Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings for defending Islam, one of the most hateful religions the world has ever known.
Jeffress read the Bible, concluded it is definitively the Truth, and even the satirist/atheist Bill Mayer would say he loves those who disagree with him. I can only assume Hunt has also read the Bible, yet he not only does not believe it is the Truth, but he has despicable things to say about those who do. So, who is the one mouthing the hate speech?
So why do these two men, both of whom have advanced degrees in somewhat similar fields, not only differ on their acceptance of biblical authority, but who also have such different views toward those with whom they differ. Actually it is a simple matter: Jeffress believes what Jesus said about everything; Hunt does not.
This is an example of how Jesus divides people. They will either accept Him for who He is and what He says, or they will not. Adding to or taking away from His Person or His Word are not options. But that is exactly what the religious world is doing. Those people would rather walk ten miles to reject or distort the truth than to stand still and accept it.
Not long before the Roman Empire beheaded the apostle Paul he wrote a final letter to the young evangelist, Timothy. In that letter he warned Timothy about such people. He said:
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.... " ( 2 Timothy 4:3, 4).
What the apostate religious world is saying superficially is that global unity, tolerance of all belief systems, and the acceptance of all moral standards are more important than truth. But there is more to it than that. They are not really saying that unity inherently has more value than truth, but they are actually saying that such unity provides them license to live as they please and that adherence to truth does not
They do not care about the intrinsic value of a ideology, whether it is godly or ungodly. The only thing they care about is whether a particular view of Jesus and the Bible provides a socially acceptable arena for the practice of their human inspired, self-made false religion.
The exclusivity of Jesus and His Word is the message not being heard from many modern pulpits. What is being heard is ecclesiastical nonsense. Christians are being told God is happy with friendly ecumenical meetings that give spiritual equivalence to all speakers and their religions. That is like trying to force light and darkness to occupy the same space at the same time. It is impossible. James 4:4 said:
"You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God."
Revelation 17:1,15 says that the false church of the tribulation will be supported by the entire global population. That makes it easy to see that the apostate Christianity of today will be part of whatever the harlot church will be then.
Biblical terms and templates may be a part of that church in that Antichrist may be called the messiah, and the False Prophet may be called his bishop, or something similar. The precise details of this future harlot church escape us; her modern foundation does not.
The apostate church likes to patronize Jesus Christ by saying He was a good man, that He was a great teacher, that He touched the lives of a lot of people, and that He did good things for people. However, believing those thing about Jesus Christ will not get a person out of their bed in the morning, much less to heaven.
The truth is He is the Son of God who died for the sins of the world and rose from the dead three days later, and what He says is the final authority on our relationship with Him and with each other. Those other things might be said about any number of people through the ages, but when offered as accolades to Jesus Christ they merely melt into condescending, undiluted hogwash. A person will accept Him as the One the Bible says He is, or not accept Him at all.
A church leader once angrily said to a preacher, after hearing his sermon to a self-satisfied church on the uncompromising word of truth, that he needed to preach about love instead of doctrine because love unites and doctrine divides. Though this man thought he had spoken a great theological truth, the fact is he did not know what he was talking about.
He had grown to become very comfortable with what he thought the Bible should say about Jesus Christ instead of what it actually says. Sort of like a sheep that has gone comfortably astray in dangerous wolf territory, he opened himself up to the dangerous lie that God accepts most everybody's anything.
No one knows the moment when Jesus will take His Church out of this world. What a person will be doing cannot be known. Some will be at work, or at school, or sleeping, but those things do not matter. What will matter is what a person believed about Jesus Christ and how that person acted upon that belief.
Some of those left behind will know exactly what happened, and they will forsake their apostasy (Revelation 7:9ff), though they will most likely die horrible deaths. Others will continue headlong with their apostasy thus becoming part of the harlot church.
A lot is at stake based upon what a person does with Jesus Christ and His Word. People should not give up the God-given opportunity they have to know the truth for themselves, and should not trust some formal ecclesiastic with an unbiblical religious agenda to always, if ever, tell them the truth.